What a strange time to be alive, to be sure. At all times, there is always somewhere in the world where people are facing difficulties, facing war, facing starvation, facing one crisis or another. In every country, at every time, there are people facing difficulties on a daily basis, facing war, facing starvation, facing some crisis or another. One person in one country is faced with a different, but just as critical, crisis to one person in another country. But in this year of 2020, the whole world is faced with the same crisis, the same strange times. The world is united. and yet divided. For once everyone has something in common, but this very sameness, is causing rifts all over the world as well. Because people are faced with this strange, unknown situation, there is no normal way to react, no-one can say, well when faced with this situation, the socially, politically, humanly correct way to react is thus… There is no one to guide through the unknown with knowledge and experience. This gives a global feeling of vulnerability. Each person is forging their own path, and each person is surviving in their own individual way. There is no right. There is no wrong. it is an ingrained instinct for people to look to leaders and ancestors for the correct way to react to a situation, but our leaders are faced with the same novelty as we are, our ancestors have never had to cope with this. And so we all need to learn a new skill, and survive.

This is particularly difficult for those people who have lost loved ones to this virus. Family members, friends, have died alone, and survivors are having to live with this memory, and find a coping mechanism. Family members, and friends, are having to live alone, without their customary exposure to each other. People are trapped on one side of the world while their life should be happening on the other side of the world. Family members are having to live together 24 hours a day without relief, without the customary ‘apart’ time. Whilst in some cases this has been an unexpected boon, and brought a strengthening of family bonds, in other cases, this has led to worry over lack of income, domestic violence, in short, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

One of the big successes of Equine Assisted Therapy is in the field of trauma. Horses really calm, relax and comfort people, offer them a way to cope with their new lives. But most centres have been closed for this strange time, unable to help people through this unchartered time. I find it incredible how people have tried to adapt as quickly as they can, and are trying as best as possible to help others through the tehnology of social media. This very tool which can be such a life saver in these times, can however, also cause unprecedented panic and insecurity, as the fear and uncertainty spreads like wildfire across the world.

As soon as life adapts a semblance of normality, there is going to be a lot of broken people to be glued back together. Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies can play a big part in this, so remember this, hold on to it, and visit your closest centre when it is safe to do so.

We have really missed our participants here at Healing with Horses Zimbabwe, and we look forward to getting really busy again! Meawhile, ahter having two months off, the majority of our herd are back in work, strengthening muscles in anticipation of meeting their friends again.

Sadly, during these strange times, we have suffered the loss of some of our very special animal friends. At these sad times, we always try to remember the good times we have had with these special friends, the hundreds of lives they touched and changed forever, their kindness, purity of love, gentleness, commitment to the broken souls they fixed, and their sense of humour. It is always amazing to watch these animals change their whole character and energy when coming in contact with someone in need. No matter the need, these special friends moulded themselves to meet and fill these needs.

Pink Lady had a special affinity with the children with physical disabilities, and she put away her own high anxiety and mistrust of life, to gently nuture these children, strengthening un-used muscles, building confidence and self worth, until these children found their souls, and their important place in the community. She never put a foot wrong, and exuded an aura of tranquility and peace when serving the children. Pinky was 26 years old, and had been a part of our family since she was 6 years old.

Our darling Lazy (Laser Patrol) had the most gentle nature we have ever seen in a horse. He did not have a mean cell in his body, and healed many a person just by being there. We will miss that extra sparkle he had in his eye, and the way he saw love in every person he came in contact with. Lazy knew how to use his voice, and told us whether he wanted to be stabled or stay out, every night. If we gave him food he didn’t feel like eating, he would pick the bucket up and throw it back at us, letting us know he wanted a different brand that day. He was just as handy with his water bucket. He would often use this sense of humour to subtly stand on your toe if you stood in the wrong place to groom or bridle him. No head collar was needed to lead him around, where you led, he would follow. Lazy gave so much confidence and love to so many children, and loved to work with a variety of children and adults. There was no one he couldn’t help, and no one who wouldn’t melt in his presence. Lazy occupied a huge part of or hearts as staff members. Never a day went by when he didn’t put a smile on our faces, and fill our hearts to bursting with love. Lazy came to us when he was about 20, and he was 27 this year.

Every one who came to the stable yard knew our Pearl. Pearl was a magnificent, beautiful, Kalahari Red goat. Pearl LOVED to be amongst a herd of kids, and would flock to them wherever they were, but was sometimes a bit intimidating with her big horns! She kept everyone in line, and accepted no bad behaviour. Pearl battled cancer for a few years before succumbing to it a few weeks ago. Pearl always had a special place in my heart, and showed me a special gentleness whilst keeping anyone else from coming too close! She was very proud of herself when she managed to make staff members (particularly Aileen!) find new roads to work, luckily all roads lead to the stables! (eventually) Pearl was about 15 years old when she died.

We were so incredibly lucky to have Lindsey home with us during this time. Linds qualified as a vet last year, and was stuck at home during the lockdown, waiting for borders to open to start her new life at a veterinary practice in the UK. Linds helped our special animals with dedication and compassion, easing their last few days with us, and allowing them to move on with dignity. We are eternally grateful to you Linds.

We remember these three members of the Healing with Horses family with love and gratitude, and thank them for many happy memories and the hours of service to children in need. You will be forever in our hearts.